SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Saturn Equinox, Milky Way, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Saturn Equinox, Milky Way, More
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September 21, 2009--Saturn sits half in shadow a day and a half after the ringed planet's equinox in a new composite picture released by NASA's Cassini mission. The 75 pictures were all snapped within an eight-hour period on August 12, when the sun moved exactly over Saturn's equator.

Cassini's pictures were processed on Earth to create a seamless mosaic and to improve the rings' visibility. At equinox, the rings would have been edge-on to the sun, so the illumination on the left side of this image is entirely from light reflected off the planet's surface. The rings had to be brightened relative to the planet, or they would have been essentially invisible.
—Image courtesy Space Science Institute/JPL/NASA
 
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